Law, Technology, and Protection from Violence Against Women: Can innovation flip the script on this dialogue?

Thursday, February 14th, 2019
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

The Elena and Miles Zaremski Law-Medicine Forum

CLE Credit Unavailable

Webcast Archive Content

Event Description

The Virtual Advocate (VirA) uses voice-activated smart speakers and smart phones to protect those at risk of domestic or dating violence and sexual harassment. VirA is intended to "hide in plain sight" so that a user can activate it with their voice without a perpetrator knowing or being able to stop it. VirA would activate through a chosen help word or phrase from a person in danger. When the VirA is triggered with voice, it would start a preset sequence of protective events, such as recording the incident, calling a trusted friend, calling a help center, calling 9-1-1, or engaging Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices. The IoT represents the interconnection between computing devices embedded in everyday objects, such as your phone, car, smart speakers, or household appliances. As such, the virtual advocate could lock doors, record video, turn on or flash lights, or sound alarms. VirA may prevent harm, protect if harm is initiated, and save evidence of an event. Storing evidence in the cloud in a secure and protected manner would ease the “she said/he said” that dominates the experience of domestic and sexual violence. VirA could be distributed to at-risk women through domestic violence workers, the doctor’s office, or the judicial system. Focus groups are planned to seek insight on VirA development from domestic violence workers, domestic violence survivors, and the judicial/law enforcement sectors.

Speaker information

Rachel Lovell, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She is a sociologist and methodologist whose research focuses on gender-based violence and victimization—particularly, sexual assault, human sex trafficking and sex work, and intimate partner violence. Dr. Lovell is currently directing a large action research project on unsubmitted sexual assault kits in Cuyahoga County, Ohio in collaboration with the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force. She has also recently led evaluations of a sexual assault victim advocacy program and a juvenile human trafficking docket in Cuyahoga County.

Colin K. Drummond, PhD, MBA. In January 2015, Dr. Drummond re-joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering as Professor and Assistant Chair, to lead efforts in undergraduate education with a specific focus on expanding experiential design courses and professional practice preparation he is also the Faculty Director for the Masters of Engineering and Management Program. Colin’s research centers on healthcare IT, wearable sensors for human performance assessment, and smart speaker architectures. Most recently, Colin was with the School of Nursing. From 2008-2013, Colin was the Director of the Coulter-Case Translational Research Partnership (CCTRP) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. He received his doctorate degree from Syracuse University in 1985 and an MBA in 1997. Professor Drummond spent 20 years in industry before joining CWRU in 2008. Colin recently launched the Simulation and Applied Informatics Lab to foster inter-professional research activities to advance the field of clinical decision support tools.

Maya Simek serves as a Clinical Law Professor and Co-Director of Case Western Reserve’s Health & Human Trafficking Clinic. Ms. Simek further serves as the Managing Legal Director at Equality Ohio, where she is currently developing and launching a state-wide legal clinic for the lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer (LGBTQ+) community.

Ms. Simek focuses her practice on legal issues impacting the LGBTQ+ community and human trafficking prevention and victim redress. Other areas of interest for Ms. Simek include community lawyering and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly with social services, on the efficacy of legal practice. The focus on these areas of interest inspired Ms. Simek’s spearheading of a law clinic for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS engaging in case management services at the Nueva Luz Urban Resource Center in 2012. Ms. Simek earned her J.D. in 2010 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, her M.S.S.A in 2007 from Case Western Reserve’s Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, and her B.S. in 2000 from John Carroll University. Ms. Simek is admitted to the bar in Ohio and California. In addition, she is an Ohio Licensed Independent Social Worker with Supervision designation (LISW-S).

Scott Frank is a Public Health and Family Medicine educator, researcher, and practitioner. He graduated from the Integrated Premedical-Medical (Inteflex) program with degrees in Creative Writing and Medicine and was part of the first Residency class in Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. He received a Master of Science in Family Medicine and Fellowship training in Addiction Medicine, both at Case Western Reserve University. He is the founding Director of the Master of Public Health Program at CWRU School of Medicine and served in that role for 18 years until 2017. Throughout that time, Dr. Frank also served as Director of Health for the City of Shaker Heights, a small municipal health department that has facilitated deep and broad connections into the community and public health practice. In 2017, he began the role of Director of Public Health Initiatives in the Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences. He is the Co-Director of the Health Data Matters online resource which emphasizes open data, public health innovation, and data visualization across socioeconomic, geographic, and health domains. He maintains a small clinical family practice and has annually been named among the “Best Doctors in America” since 2002. He is an award winning teacher of residents, medical, and public health students. Dr. Frank has served as Residency Director and Director of Pre-doctoral Education in Family Medicine, and as curriculum leader for Population Health at the CWRU School of Medicine. In the School of Medicine, he serves as faculty for the Humanities Pathway and Wellness Pathway. He is involved in research and teaching domains such as social justice, public health services and systems, public health information technology, adolescent health, tobacco control, substance abuse prevention, violence prevention, suicide prevention, public health and medicine, assessment of stress, and the role of spirituality and religion in health. Dr. Frank has received awards including Templeton Award for his medical school curriculum in Faith and Medicine Voices Against the Silence Award from the AIDS Task Force of Greater Cleveland for his whitepaper on Abstinence-Only-Until Marriage Educational Programs in Ohio the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Relations Award by the City of Shaker Heights as part of the South Shaker MyCom Leadership Team a Recognition Award from the Student National Medical Association Youth Voice Award, Cleveland Foundation, MyCom Initiative, for Civic Leadership and a Pioneers of Tobacco Cessation Award, among other honors. Dr. Frank is also a 2-time Hopwood Award winning writer, a husband, father of five and grandfather of five.

Event Location

Moot Courtroom (A59)
11075 East Blvd.
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

Rachel Lovell, PhD
Senior Research Associate at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education
Colin K. Drummond, PhD, MBA
Professor and Assistant Chair, Department of Biomedical Engineering
Maya Simek
Clinical Law Professor and Co-Director of Case Western Reserve’s Health & Human Trafficking Clinic
Dr. Scott Frank
M.D., M.S., Public Health and Family Medicine educator, researcher, and practitioner

This lecture

Free and open to the public
Online registration available or register at the door

For more information

Academic Centers and Continuing Legal Education Programs